Holiday Party Delights

Here's a few of my tried and true annual treats for holiday entertaining, yet not expensive to make, and pleasant for guests and family or given as gifts to neighbors or friends. Several recipes are those my mother made in late '40s to '60s when I grew up, and I continue to use them.

Original Chex Mix
1/2 to 3/4 cup oleo (butter or margarine)
1 -1/4 tsp. sea salt
4 -1/2 tsps. Worcestershire
1 cup salted nuts
2 cups each of Chex:  rice, wheat, bran and corn cereal
1 cup pretzels

Preheat oven to 250. Heat butter in shallow roasting pan. Stir in salt and Worcestershire; add cereals and nuts, stirring until coated. Heat in oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Makes 10 cups, and freezes well.  Microwave method: Combine and coat all in a large bowl, and microwave on high 6 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes. (I recall my mom used cherrios as one of the cereals.)

 photo cruller_zpsd25c76b3.jpgRosettes (Crullers)
2 eggs
2 Tabs. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
Set of Rosette Irons in various shapes (star, snowflake, butterfly)

Combine eggs, sugar and salt, beating well. then add remaining ingredients until batter is smooth. Heat shaped iron in 375 oil, shake off excess oil, dip in batter to coat, then redip in oil until batter puffs up and separates from iron. Working quickly in batches, do three or four at a time.  Fry about one minute until golden brown. Remove with tongs, place on paper towels and dust with powdered sugar.

Date Nut Bread Loaves
2 cups boiling water      2 tsp. baking soda
1 pound chopped pitted dates    2 Tabs. melted butter
2 cups sugar         2 eggs
4 cups flour          1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt             2 tsps. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Assorted sizes of tin cans, or small loaf pans.

Add baking soda and chopped dates to boiling water, stir and set aside.  Cream butter, sugar and eggs, then mix in remaining ingredients, slowly adding flour, adding cooled date mixture last. Mix well to combine.  Grease and flour assorted sizes of tin cans, (soup or fruit cans). Fill 1/2 way and bake at 375 oven until done. Test for "done," by inserting a  toothpick into top and it comes out clean.  Slice and serve with cream cheese or butter. (My Italian  great-grandmother passed this recipe onto my mom, who passed it on to me.)
Puff Pastry Appetizers

Puff Pastry Minis to fill with shrimp or crab mixtures; cheese dips with garnishes.

Liver Sausage Paste
1 pound liver sausage
1 cup sour cream
1 package onion soup mix
1 tsp. Worcestershire
dash of tabasco
Mix and blend together, chill overnight to blend flavors.  Serve with assorted cut breads and crackers.

Clam Dip
1 large cream cheese, softened       1/4 cup mayo
1 Tab. parsley        1 Tab. minced chives or green onions
1/2 tsp.each:  Worcestershire, garlic salt, celery salt
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1 6 oz. can minced clams drained, saving the juice
Blend all ingredients, using a little of the clam juice to thin mixture to desired consistency for a spread or dip.

Black Russian Liqueur (Kahlua)
4 cups sugar
8 cups water
1/2 cup instant coffee
2 tsps. vanilla
3 cups of vodka
Bring sugar, water, coffee and vanilla to a boil, and continue to boil slow for 1 hour.  Cool the syrup, then add vodka and store in capped bottles or decanters. Makes a half gallon.

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